Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beautiful? Yes: Beautiful

I got it. I finally got it.

It's a little thing. It's a no-thing. But, as for all epi-phanies ('epi': upon, sudden), it's a big thing.

And the thing, this obvious thing, is this.

Bella has always seen herself as inadequate, but how so? In taking care of Charlie? No. In school? Yes, a bit (or more than a bit, depending on her confidence). But as compared to, primarily any of the those magical, mystical Cullens (and Hales)?

Yes. Big time.


Because she sees herself as nothing to look at, that is, as just the girl next door. Okay, I suppose, but just that, so she's floored at the attention from everybody in school, and simply lost at the attention paid upon her by a certain vampire that is, initially, just as confused why.

But then this vampire sees Bella's inner beauty: Bella sees the good in people, and sticks up for them, sees the good in them that they refuse to see, even the good in them if they are a vampire, or a werewolf or a jealous, duplicitous rival at school, or nearly anyone, and Bella will go to bat for them, too, even if they don't want her, too.

Bella is beautiful on the inside.

But than beauty can't help but shine forth to her outside. She is the 'girl next door' but, wait, isn't the girl next door beautiful?

I argue yes. Do you see a girl when she can't hold in that smile because she's so happy? Isn't she beautiful? No matter her hair color or eye color or her height or anything! She's just bursting with beauty, because she's just so beyond worrying about her looks, so you don't see a worrier, you see a girl, a happy, beautiful girl.

But when Bella looks in the mirror, the worry returns, and she starts to measure, and, in her own eyes, right or wrong, she just doesn't measure up.

Now let's take the opposite case. Rosalie Lillian Hale.

Tall, statuesque, Blond, ice-blue eyes, strikingly, breathtakingly beautiful ... "the most beautiful woman [no, person] in the world." (Eclipse, ch 7)

... on the outside.

But on the inside, and, as she believes, visible for all to see, she's a hurting, angry, bitter woman. Raped and left to die by her fiancé and then turned without her will nor permission to be a creature of pure evil. Hateful. Spiteful. Damaged goods. Irredeemable.

How bad does she see herself? Canonically? Well, there's plenty of examples, but here's one that hasn't explored before.

Rosalie found, and rescued, Emmett when she was hunting alone. (Eclipse, ch 7)

Now, why was she hunting alone? Has anybody every thought of the why of that? No, but I have been, recently, and here's one of the things I've come up with.

She sees what she does, what she is now, something so disgusting, so reprehensible, that she won't even allow other vampires see her hunt.

Other vampires hunt together. Case in point, Edward and Emmett were hunting together, and Edward watched Emmett 'play with his food' (dismember a bear) as they discussed the 'Bella Issue' (Midnight Sun, ch 7 "Melody"). There was no embarrassment, no delicate looking away as they hunted. And case in point, Bella and Edward hunted together for more than a couple of kills when she was a newborn (Breaking Dawn, Book III). That went easily and naturally and 'graceful'ly for both participants.

Rosalie hunts alone. Why? She can't stand to let anyone else see who she really is when she drops that ironclad self-control, because when she opens up by just that hairline crack, she's afraid others will see that real her within that stunningly beautiful shell. Because she knows what they'll see of tainted her.

Rosalie is so beautiful on the outside, but when she stares into those eyes of hers looking back at her from that mirror, mirror on her vanity, she knows what she sees, and it's black, but it's not beautiful.

So there's Rosalie, beauty queen with the twisted soul.

And so there's Bella, the plain brown girl next door, with the big heart.

And my epiphany was this.

In msr, chapter 55 ("Beautiful"), Rosalie works, and has been working so hard, to show Bella that she is indeed a beautiful person on the outside.

In msr, chapter 14 ("No Talking to Vampires!") and on, Bella has been daring, as hard as she can, to show Rosalie that she is a kind being, a person who can hope, because she is worthy of daring to hope.

Both girls see the beauty of the other where each does not see the possibility of beauty being there, and each girl has made it her mission to convince the other that she is beautiful, through and through.

And, msr can be views as the roman à clef that has been carrying that torch for more than a year now, but, ironically, it was not msr that gave me this insight, it was me, taking a break from writing, and reading the work of other authoresses, and seeing that Bella hesitancy in her stuttering speech, but her utter determination to reach past Rosalie's absolutely cold distance, and seeing that Rosalie hesitancy reaching out to Bella for someone, anyone, to talk to her as a person, not as an object to be adored or a sibling to fight, but just as a person, a being, possibly even capable of being loved, but her absolute demand that Bella never be other than the best of her best, no matter how coldly, cruelly and abruptly Rosalie expresses that demand...

Seeing that, I sat up, and said: "Eureka!"

Bella is beautiful, through and through.

Rosalie is beautiful, through and through.

Even though neither sees that as a possibility.

You know what? You are beautiful, too: even though you don't see that as a possibility. The next time somebody catches you with your guard down when you're so happy that you cannot hide your smile, and they say, "Hey, you have a beautiful smile."

The next time that happens. Know what that person just told you.

You are beautiful.

Because it's true.

Bella can be beautiful, even standing next to that goddess Rosalie Lillian Hale.

Rosalie can be beautiful, even standing next to that selfless great soul Bella.

You can be beautiful, just like Bella, just like Rosalie, but most importantly, just like yourself.

Because you are.

Do you know what epiphany really means? It's God revealing Himself to us. Epi-phany: "Suddenly Revealed" How? By us seeing Him, face to face. So the modern philosophical interpretation, and how I try to live my life, is to see God in the face of the person in front of you, for after all, we are created in the image and likeness of God [Gen 1:27], so His Face shines forth, through yours.

This may do nothing for you, but it does everything for me, because, for me, it means that I try, all the time, to see the real you when I'm talking with you and listening to you, and for me, when I'm doing this, it's easy to see you and the beauty of you.

My epiphany. Bella is beautiful; Rosalie is beautiful, and each tries to convince the other of that fact.

You are beautiful. Convince yourself of that fact. And maybe there's somebody who needs to hear that they are beautiful, and maybe you are the person to tell them this. And, sometimes, guess what? When you tell them this, and they really get it, don't they become even more beautiful? And doesn't that do you a world of good, knowing you helped that one person to see their own beauty that you've seen hidden and revealed here and there?

You have that beauty, too.

Just like Bella, through and through. Just like Rosalie, through and through.

Just like you, through and through.